When I had my third consecutive miscarriage, I joined the ranks of approximately 1% of fertile couples who experience recurrent early pregnancy losses–defined as three or more miscarriages in a row. It is an elite club that no one wants to be a member of. My husband, Kirk and I underwent every test imaginable to try to find out why this kept happening, but much to our dismay no medical explanation was found.
One of my lowest moments came shortly after my third miscarriage when I was walking alone to the lab to get some more blood work done. As I glanced down at my medical chart I noticed under my problem list the phrase “habitual aborter”. It took me a moment to understand that I was the “habitual aborter” in question. I had read that recurrent miscarriage is also called “habitual abortion” and had been repulsed by the term but had naively never expected to be labeled in this way. That label conjured up all sorts of negative images in my mind. I was already consumed with self-loathing and blame over my miscarriages. To be labeled in a way that made me feel that the medical professionals I trusted viewed me as someone who was “habitually” and purposefully doing away with my pregnancies felt intolerable.
It was the final straw in my dealings with a physicians’ practice that I felt had treated me with disrespect and disdain for the last time. As low as I felt in that moment, that spark of anger I felt on that miserable day was my first step towards taking my power back. I vowed to myself that when I felt strong enough to try to get pregnant again, I would find a Doctor who I felt respected by, listened to, and who would work in partnership with me rather than view me as a problem to be fixed.
I spent the next six months doing a ton of grief work and inner work. The book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” by Dr. Christiane Northrup, was a huge help to me during this time. I also did a lot of research on what types of treatments can help create a positive pregnancy outcome for women who have suffered multiple miscarriages when no medical explanation can be found. I found much exciting work in this area but perhaps the most amazing research findings were the small number of studies showing incredibly positive results for women given strong positive support in early pregnancy.
Dubbed the TLC (Tender Loving Care) Approach, the results were staggering. One study showed that among couples who experienced recurrent miscarriage where no medical cause could be determined, women receiving supportive counseling and psychological support during pregnancy had a subsequent pregnancy success rate of 86%, as compared with a success rate of 33% for women who received no specific pregnancy counseling or support. Another study found that TLC support in early pregnancy resulted in the women receiving such support as having a 26% miscarriage rate in their next pregnancy, compared with a 51% miscarriage rate for those women who did not receive TLC support.
I was buoyed by these results and became determined to find a doctor overflowing with TLC. I was blessed to find a gem of a doctor who spent over an hour with me on my initial consultation visit. He let me cry as I explained the pain of enduring three miscarriages and he gently pointed out that it was actually a strength that I could get pregnant so often and easily. I truly believe my work with him, and a small practice of Nurse-Midwives also abundant with TLC– were huge factors in my fourth and fifth pregnancies being successful.
Clifford K, Rai R, and Regan L (1997) Future pregnancy outcome in unexplained recurrent first trimester miscarriage. Human Reproduction 12, 387-389.
Jauniaux E, Farquharson R G, Christiansen O B, and Exalto N (2006) Evidence-based guidelines for the investigation and medical treatment of recurrent miscarriage. Human Reproduction 21, No.9 2216-2222.
Stray-Pedersen B and Stray-Pedersen S (1984) Etiological factors and subsequent reproductive performance in 195 couples with a prior history of habitual abortion. American Journal Obstet Gynecol 148,140-146.
Copyright 2009 © Miscarriage Support System – All Rights Reserved
We have many more Pregnancy Help Articles Now Available.